Peace and security in the Strait of Hormuz ‘at a critical juncture’

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The Strait of Hormuz

By Caribbean New Now contributor

NEW YORK, USA — Rising tension in the Strait of Hormuz and the apparent threat to peace, security and commerce is a larger indication as previously published; that Diplomacy is a way better option than threats and intimidation given the uncertainty, which could produce an unpleasant outcome is indeed ‘at a critical juncture.’

While both Iran and the US differ on agreements, preconditions and rules of engagement, the United Nations political affairs chief told the Security Council members on Wednesday, that “The Iran nuclear deal must “continue to work for all”, despite moves by both the United States and Iran which have destabilized the “hard-won” 2015 agreement.”

 “This is especially true at time when both countries continue their diplomatic war of words over recent attacks around the crucial oil shipping lanes of the Gulf, said Under Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo, describing events as “a reminder that we are at a critical juncture.” 

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the US and the European Union, sets out rigorous mechanisms for monitoring restrictions placed on Iran’s nuclear programme, while paving the way for the lifting of UN sanctions against Iran. 

DiCarlo described it as the result of “12 years of intense diplomatic efforts and technical negotiations”, regarded by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as a major success of “multilateralism, nuclear non-proliferation, dialogue and diplomacy.” 

Gutteres has condemned the attacks in the Persian Gulf and warned that the world cannot afford “a major confrontation in the Gulf region”.

With the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stating in its latest report that Iran is abiding by its commitments, DiCarlo said the UN chief was concerned at the US decision in May, not to extend waivers so that Iran can continuing trading oil, and other waivers directly relating to the JCPOA. The US withdrew from the deal just over a year ago, but some oil buyers were allowed to keep taking limited volumes. 

The concerns related to US actions “may impede the ability of Iran and other member States to implement certain of its provisions”, said the political affairs chief, adding that Guterres also regretted Iran’s announcement this May, that it would not commit to the agreed limits on enriched uranium, unless other JCPOA signatories agreed to work round the increased US sanctions, within 60 days. 

This coincides with previous analysis by RK Global Analysis Raja Kadri, former chief economist for the government of Montserrat has been writing about the Persian nuclear issue and the geopolitical situation in the Middle East since 2008, that “What is real is that there is no way Iran will ever give up its nuclear enrichment program so any negotiations starting with this demand are bound to fail.”

Meanwhile, Iran raised the stakes higher by announcing last week it would pass it’s agreed limits on enriched uranium by 27 June: “Such actions are not in the interests of the participants of the Plan and may not help preserve it’, DiCarlo said. “The Secretary-General encourages Iran to continue implementing all its nuclear-related commitments despite the considerable challenges it faces.” 

However, DiCarlo said the UN chief welcomed initiatives from other countries, including all the Security Council Permanent Members to save the deal, “which should be given full effect as a matter of priority,” adding, “It is essential that the plan continues to work for all its participants, including by delivering tangible economic benefits to the Iranian people”, she said.  

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, briefs the Security Council meeting on non-proliferation. (26 June 2019) UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Ballistic missiles, arms to Yemen, inconclusive thus far 

Turning to provisions in the JCPOA, DiCarlo said there were “divergent views” from member states over whether Iran had breached the agreement in various test firing and test flights, since December. 

With reference to ballistic missiles deployed by Houthi rebels in Yemen, against Saudi Arabia, she said that some components analyzed by the UN showed it was likely they had been supplied from outside Yemen, after 2015. Regarding other military hardware and explosives, she said the Secretariat was “confident” that some arms analyzed from the battlefield, showed they were of “Iranian manufacture” but it was impossible to tell if they were transferred after Iran had committed to the deal. 

Iran, US, EU weigh in 

Iran’s Ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht Ravanchi told the Council that “the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and re-imposition of sanctions” had rendered the deal “almost fully ineffective…Iran alone cannot, shall not and will not take all of the burdens anymore, to preserve the JCPOA”, he declared. 

With the European powers working hard to save the deal and the Iranian 60-day deadline to them of 8 July looming, The UN Ambassador for the European Union, Joao Vale de Almeida, warned that there was “no credible, peaceful alternative”. 

Jonathan Cohen, acting US Ambassador, said the Iran’s “defiance of the Security Council and its reckless behaviour threatening peace and security globally must not be downplayed in the name of preserving a deal that doesn’t fully cut off Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.”

“The first option involves around this question: is the world, especially the US, Arab states and Israel, ready to live with a nuclear Iran like it has with nuclear Pakistan; and if the answer is no, what can be done about it? These are the only two questions whose answers will determine the future course regarding the nuclear diplomacy with Iran,” RK Global analysis, Raja Kadri.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has imposed new sanctions on Iran, there are geo-political concerns: 

  • How does that reflect the reality of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations allegiances in the Venezuela crisis, alongside powers such as Russia, China, and Turkey?
  • What is expected of PetroCaribe, Haiti and other Caribbean countries oil alliance contracted with Venezuela?
  • Is Citizenship by Investment (CBI) at ‘a critical juncture’ allowing high-risk individuals to obtain passports from a low-risk jurisdiction, and is due diligence sufficiently equipped to counter Iran sanctions and/or pose a further threat to hemispheric security?

The 2019 US International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) says the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF, a FATF) member States have agreed to implement common countermeasures against money laundering and terrorist financing. 

However, it also states: “Further AML/CFT (anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism) awareness training is recommended to continue developing AML compliance and build on this progress.”

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